Ghost of Gotham is my first book by Craig Schaefer, and it definitely will not be my last.
I’ve heard a lot about the Daniel Faust series by Craig Schaefer. When I saw that he has a stand-alone released recently, I thought that this book will be a good sampler of just what the author offers. And I proceeded to devour Ghosts of Gotham in two days. I really developed an almost compulsive addiction to crime thrillers – when I start, I find it very hard to stop binging. This book gave me that heady and thrilling concoction with an urban fantasy setting, in New York City!
New York City, the original inspiration for Gotham City, is such an appropriate backdrop for a crime noir story touched with the supernatural. A lot of supernatural in this case. The evocative and vivid portrayal of this old and sprawling city that never sleeps lends a hectic yet atmospheric and gothic backdrop that just simply enhances the narrative to another level of intensity.
For the first quarter of the book or so, I was wondering why this book was marketed as urban fantasy as it read like a real-world fictional crime thriller. When the investigation into the lost manuscript brought our primary character, Lionel Page, into a secret society gathering, all hell broke loose. Let’s just take a step back here. Secret societies. There is one trope that I can never get tired of, and I believe neither do most readers. How many of us have been entranced by the mention of the Illuminati or the Freemasons, and how often were these used in fiction. I’d say keep them coming.
Most of the supernatural elements here are drawn from Greek mythology and supplemented with witches, ghouls and necromancy. There was even a tribute to a famous urban legend of New York City regarding a particular inhabitant of its sewers. All delivered in a fast-paced and tight narrative, filled with cleverly-crafted mysteries, which simply begs one to keep turning the pages.
Aside from the above, there is very little that I can say more of without spoilers. However, I will say that for what appears to be a stand-alone for now, the characters are wonderfully fleshed-out. I was so impressed with how the author was able to do that while maintaining an almost gruelling pace for the main characters. By the end of this book, the one thing that I took away from it is that I would love to read more about Lionel and Maddie.
Ghosts of Gotham is a darkly delicious read, and I want more of it.